Admiral Dimitry Orlov was waiting for his daily status reports. He was bored. The fleet was back in port undergoing refit and repairs after their last excursion. In the meantime, he was going over some of the fleet reports from other commands regarding some new ships, tactics and strategies. While most of the reports were identifying a new love for the “Heavy Mortar” fleets using the new Khatanga Heavy Battleship and the Tiksi Support Cruisers. Admiral Orlov was concerned that the Mortar Fleet was a crutch. But how could he be sure.
Fortunately, he had the time. Maybe he should run a test exercise to see how these fleets would perform for himself…
Well, first an apology. I’ve been off-line “ill” for a bit. This game was played a couple of weekends ago, but I haven’t been in any mental shape to type it out (as my opponent has complained ceaselessly to me). Don’t know why he’s complaining…
Second, I took photos with my Cell as the Tablet Camera is broken. Obviously, I need more practice using the phone’s camera. Many photos are quite bad and in the rush to finish the game, we didn’t take any pictures in the final turn! Sorry!
So, knowing we were doing a 1000pt battle AND knowing we were doing it at the “Local Watering Hole” (Local Game Store) AND knowing we’d be interrupted (many times), I set a couple of restrictions to make the game play faster. First of all: NO DREADNOUGHTS! While I think Dreads are fun in larger games, at 1000 points, they really do slow the game down. Next, we reduced the play area down to a 4’ X 4’ surface. Again, this was to get us shooting sooner and speeding up the game.
So, planning my fleet the day before, I had to decide between the Prussians and the Russians. In theory, it was the Prussians turn, but I hadn’t been playing the Russians for a while. In the end I decided to bring the Russians. I was “Guilted” after checking my battle reports online and saw how many battles I’ve done with the Prussians vs the Russians.
Having chosen the Russians, I decided to do something “different” than normal. I hadn’t used the new Dudinka Assault Carrier or the New Khatanga Heavy Battleship (haven’t finished painting them yet, in fact). This would be their Baptism of Fire. Taking the Khatanga meant I had to take the Tiksi Support Cruisers for more Mortars. I took a “basic” Presets to use the Target Painter (Mortar) generator. I had to play around with the points a bit, but in the end, I took a squadron of 2 Myshkin Bombers and 2 squadrons of Novgorod Frigates to round up the force.
What I hadn’t considered when I chose my force and placed the restriction on Dreadnoughts was that I was going to impact Graham’s force choices. He only had the Dreadnought as a Large Choice in his Japanese force, so he couldn’t take them. So he brought his Britannians.
So we rolled for terrain and ended up with . . 1 island.
Russians won Strategic Advantage while the British won Operational Advantage.
Russian Coalition (RC) Deployment:
- Dudinka Assault Carrier with 1 Fighter SAS (5 tokens) & a Spotter
- 2 Fighter SAS (5 tokens each)
- 4 Novgorod Frigates surrounding the Carrier
- Khatanga Heavy Battleship with Missile/Torpedo Jammer & Regular Crew
- 3 Tiksi Support Cruisers with
- 2 Myshkin Bombers
- 3 Novgorod Frigates &
- 1 Presets Submarine with Target Painter (Mortar)
Kingdom of Britannia (KoB) Deployment:
- Eagle War Rotor
- 4 Attacker Frigates & 2 Fighter SAS (5 tokens each)
- Ruler Battleship with Guardian Generator,
- 3 Agincourt Gunships in V formation around the Battleship
- 2 Swift Corvettes
- 4 Attacker Frigates with
- 4 Attacker Frigates following the first row
|Start of Game!|
Britannia played the Radio Intercept and gained +3 to their Initiative Roll (and +20VP for the Russians)!
Unsurprisingly, KoB won Initiative.
Britannian Frigates raced forward and damaged a Russian Frigate.
Russian Bombers climbed to the Stratosphere and moved forward their Minimum move. Britannian Frigates raced forward and tried to shoot down the bombers from RB2, but missed. Russian Frigates moved forward and blasted the over-anxious Britannian Frigates, sank one and damaged another. First Blood to the Russians!
Britannian Frigates on the other side moved forward, but found themselves out-of-range to the Russian Frigates. The Russian Frigates advanced and sank 2 frigates and damaged a 3rd!
|More Frigates Burn!|
The Britannnian Gunboats moved forward. Torpedoes sank 1 Frigate while guns damaged a 2nd. The Britannians were on the board!
|Britannian Gunships Strike Back!|
The Russian Presets Sub stayed submerged and moved forward. The Britannian War Rotor stayed obscured as it moved forward and turned to port. The obscuring clouds made the War Rotor miss it’s targets, the Russian Frigates. Russians stalled for time by sending the Recon Flight somewhere (I didn’t really track where, other than “away” from the Britannian Fighters!). Britannian Fighters moved forward, placed themselves in front of the War Rotor.
The Russian Cruisers moved next. In show of poor seamanship, one of the Tiksi collided with a Frigate. Fortunately, neither was damaged. The Tiksi linked their Heavy Moratrs on the lead Gunship, and caused a Double-Crit. Rolling the results, one crit turned into a Magazine Explosion! This sank the lead Gunship, while the explosion caused a second Gunship to suffer a Crit (Chaos and Disarray). The Tiksi’s light mortars sank a Frigate which caused the squadron to fail its Disorder test and the broadsides sank a Corvette which caused the survivor to fail his Disorder! WOW! A Mag Explosion and 2 of 3 squadrons suffered Disorder! The Britannian losses cost them 140VP in just this one activation! Things were not going well for the Britannian Fleet!
|The Tiksi Attack!|
The Britannian Battleship turned to Starboard, away from the main Russian Fleet so that it could bring all turrets to bear. Unfortunately, in a series of rather poor rolls, the Battleship was only able to sink 1 previously damaged Frigate! The GOOD news was that the Frigates failed their Disorder test!
The Russian Battleship moved forward and fired its Mortars at the Britannian Battleship and successfully caused a Crit (Hard Pounding, -2AP). As well, the Battleship successfully damaged a Gunship. Britannian Frigates made a turn to starboard and made a torpedo attack on the Battleship. Again, Graham’s Dice failed him. Between the Battleship’s Jammers and the poor rolls, the Frigates failed to damage the Battleship.
The Russian Carrier made a turn to Starboard to line up its forward guns on the damaged Gunship. Though the forward guns failed to damage the Gunship, broadsides managed to damage the War Rotor.
Running out of activations, both sides started “The Fighter Phase”! The last Brtannian Fighter SAS moved forward, again, blocking access to the front of the War Rotor. Three Squadrons of Russian Fighters roared in for the attack! The first Russian Squadron shot down 3 Britannian tokens from one SAS for the loss of the entire squadron! OUCH!!! The 2nd Russian Fighters SAS attacked the other Britannian SAS and shot down 1 token for the loss of 2. The Final Russian Squadron shot down 2 tokens for the loss of 2.
In the End Phase, the Britannian Gunship failed to recover from the Chaos & Disarray effect. The Surviving Corvette lost all their AP and survived with only 1 HP before rallying. The Frigates lost 2 AP and 1 HP, but the remaining ships all stayed afloat. For the Russians, they only had to roll to rally the Frigate Squadron. They lost 2 AP so none of the ships in the squadron were lost.
|End of Turn 1!|
In the TAC phase, neither side played a TAC.
Russians won the Initiative (to the Britannians’ chagrin).
To start things off, the Russian Frigates peeked around the island on the left and sank a Frigate!
|Another Britannian Frigate Sunk!|
On the other end of the battle line, the Britannian Frigates made a hard turn to port. Again, in a series of horrible rolls, the Frigates only managed to damage 1 Frigate and failed to damage the Tiksi at all. The Russian Sub surfaced, maneuvered around a Frigate and fired its guns at the damaged Gunship and damaged it. Unfortunately for the Britannians, the Sub’s Guns had Piercing Ammo, gaining a Crit Effecton the damage. In this case, 3 Raging Fires! The Russians then played Breakneck Maneuvers and successfully dove back under the waves!
The lone Britannian Corvette attacked the Russian Frigates, but failed to cause any damage. One of the Russian Fighter SAS flew back to the Carrier. One of the Britannian Fighter SAS attacked the other Russian SAS, but failed to shoot down any down for the loss of the entire squadron! The Russian Fighter SAS then flew back to the Carrier.
The Britannian War Rotor came down out of the clouds, moved forward and bombed two Frigates, sinking them. The War Rotor’s guns successfully damaged the Carrier. Unfortunately, the War Rotor failed to climb back into the clouds after their successful attack run.
|The War Rotor Avenges the Frigates!|
Worried about the carrier suffering more damage, the Russians activated the Carrier. First, it replenished both Fighter Squadrons back to full strength (JUST!). Then, the carrier moved forward and rammed the Corvette, (unsurprisingly) sinking it with no damage to the Carrier. The Carrier’s Fore Guns then sank the damaged Gunship. Not a bad run!
|Russian Carrier Rams A Corvette & Destroyed A Gunship!|
The last Gunship turned to port and attacked the Carrier, getting a Crit (Chaos & Disarray) and a hit, which caused the Carrier to lose its Ablative Armour! Glad I activated the Carrier earlier, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the chance to replenish the Fighters!
The Russian Battleship moved forward and once more turned its Mortars to the Britannian Battleship. The Mortars damaged the Battleship, while the rest of the weapons damaged the Gunship and sank another Frigate, which caused the survivor to Break!
The Britannian Battleship moved forward, keeping its broadsides to the enemy. While torpedoes failed to damage the Battleship, the guns crit the Carrier (Chaos & Disarray) and caused the Fuel Reserves to ignite!
Russian Cruisers move forward and crit the War Rotor (Hard Pounding, -3AP total), sank the last Frigate of 1 Squadron, but failed to damage the Gunship.
Another Britannian Frigate Squadron made a torpedo run on the Russian Carrier, but failed to damage the ship due to poor rolls, again!
Russian Frigates turned and fired on the War Rotor and once more, the War Rotor was damaged.
Britannian Frigates made a minimal move and attacked a Tiksi Cruiser and FINALLY got a Crit (Nav Lock). The Russian Bombers stayed at the Stratisphere level and turned towards the Britannian Gunship. The under-strength Britannian Fighter SAS attacked the Bombers, but neither side suffered damage.
In the End Phase, the Britannians had nothing to repair. The Russian Carrier lost another AP to fireand failed to repair the Chaos & Disarray. The Tiksi Cruiser failed to repair the Nav Lock as well.
TAC Phase – neither side played any (we both wanted to, but knew the other would counter it if we did).
Russians won the Initiative.
Knowing I was going to lose it this turn, the Russian Carrier Activated. First, the Mimic Generator copied the Guardian Generator off the War Rotor! The Carrier then declared a Ram against the Gunship. The Gunship played Brace for Impact but it was cancelled with Lost Orders, giving both players 20VP. The ram caused a Crit (Weapons Damaged) to the Gunship. The Gunship moved forward 2” to disengage, but also suffered extra Engine Damage as it had suffered damage from the ram!
The War Rotor moved forward and sank the Russian Carrier with its bombs. The guns then damaged 1 Frigate but failed to damage a bomber.
The Russian Battleship declared a Ram on the Gunship and sank it with no damage to the Battleship. Broadsides sank another Frigate. The Russians then played Devastating Barrage against the Britannian Battleship. It was cancelled with Stoke the Engines, granting both sides with an extra 40VP. The Mortar attack still crit the enemy Battleship (Shredded Defences).
The Britannian Battleship made a minimal move and fired back. Though the torpedoes did nothing, the guns successfully damaged the Russian Battleship.
Russian Fighter SAS attacked and damaged the War Rotor for the loss of 1 token.
Finally, a full 4-ship squadron of Britannian Frigates made a GOOD roll in their attack against the Russian Battleship, causing a Crit (Generators Offline). (They missed a Double Crit by only 1 or 2 hits. It really was a shame.)
Russian Fighters made another attack on the War Rotor and caused a Crit (Fusion – 2 Corrosion Markers) for the loss of 1 token. The remaining Britannian Fighters attacked a bomber, and got a crit (Nav Lock) for a loss of the squadron. That was the last activation of the Britannian Fleet.
Russian Frigates shot down the War Rotor. The Cruisers linked their Mortars as best they could and managed to successfully crit & sink the Britannian Battleship! At this point, the Britannian Commander ceded the match as all he had left was 1 squadron of Frigates.
RC: 775 Sink 50% & All Large & Massives: COMPLETED
KoB: 375 Sink 50% & All Smalls: Incomplete
RC: 775 Sink 50% & All Large & Massives: COMPLETED
KoB: 375 Sink 50% & All Smalls: Incomplete
Well, I read a bunch of glowing reports from others (and condemnations from other nations) on the web regarding the new Khatanga Heavy Battleship and the Tiksi Cruisers. I decided I needed to see for myself how “unfair” these new ships were.
I found the Khatanga Battleship to be quite tough and the RB3 ranged Heavy Weapons to be a new threat that my opponent wasn’t used to dealing with. Like most Russian Ships, its attacks are not at full strength until you get into RB2. A single determined Frigate Attack inflicted a can still weaken that attack before you get into range. At RB1, the ship lacks any real offensive capability, unless you happen to be in Ramming Range in front of the Battleship.
This was my 2nd game with the Tikis Cruisers. Undoubtedly, these are VERY effective ships. However, they’re also vulnerable and costly. Like most Russian Ships, the Tiksi are vulnerable to Torpedo & Rocket Attack with limited AA & CC. To offset that shortcoming, you pay an extra 10 points for the Jammers which increases the squadron cost. A full 3-ship squadron with Jammers is 285pts. Quite a bit for a Medium squadron. Again, if something snuck into RB1, the Tiksi have minimal offensive and defensive capabilities.
So, while I can agree that these new ships are very dangerous, I can see that there are weaknesses. The question is how to take advantage of those weaknesses.
The poor Presets Sub. I never did get close enough to use the Target Painter, but it did get a good shot off at the Gunship. It never really got another chance to do anything else.
The Bombers were there for spotting but with only 1 Island, the enemy didn’t have anything to hide behind. That made the Spotter function a waste. The Bombers were approaching the Battleship in the last turn, but the Battleship was sunk before I had a chance to bomb it! So I never really got the chance to use them. On the other hand, staying in the Stratosphere made them a VERY difficult target to damage, let alone shoot down!
My Frigates did their wonderful work as usual. They seldom let me down. I hadn’t guessed Graham’s mission was to destroy all the smalls. He complained I had hidden one Frigate Squadron behind the main fleet, but the reality was with the War Rotor flanking me, I was trying to protect the rear of the fleet from the War Rotor. It had the unintended affect that I appeared to be hiding my Frigates.
The Britannian Fleet certainly suffered against the Russians this time, but it wasn’t because of his fleet choices or tactics. He REALLY had a rough time rolling dice. I could not believe the number of times he failed to damage. Statistically speaking, the dice should have shown hits about 50% of the time. In reality, I think he was averaging 30% or less. He kept missing the Damage Rating of his targets by 1 or 2 hits! When he did roll hits, he missed a crit by – you guessed it! One or two hits! It was appalling. At first I was pressuring my opponent to hurry up to get through the game turns. Turn 3 was so bad for him, I felt guilty about ½ way through the turn. I didn’t win so much as his Dice lost!
I felt so bad about this game, I almost didn’t post it. However, Graham was harassing me to post it so I will as an example of both how nasty Mortars can be and how badly dice can betray you!
I hope you enjoyed this report. Until next time!